A review of “Tully”: it’s an antidote to marriage

Important advice for women going to see Tully: do not go to see it with a man you would like to marry. It is a chick-flic for women, but warns men about the terrifying risks of modern marriage.

Tully

The critics tell us Tully is another click-flick about the horrors of heterosexual marriage and motherhood. Hollywood studios churn these out like theaters do popcorn. Watching these, I wonder why women pursue men for marriage. They must be gluttons for punishment. But critics love these films. Their reactions to it reveal much about both the film and America today.

But before describing the film (with no spoilers until the end), here are a few words about its leading lady.

Charlize Theron specializes in portrayal of modern women  (Hollywood versions). She won an Oscar for her scary performance as a butch prostitute serial killer in Monster. She was a warrior in Mad Max: Fury Road. She was a superspy in Atomic Blonde.

In Tully she gives a gritty portrayal of Marlo, an extreme version of the standard desperate suburban housewife. “She brings Marlo to life with stark, let-it-all-hang-out honesty.” She lives in a nice house. She has two young children, 8 and 5, who attend a private school. She is pregnant with a third.

Leftist film critics find this exciting, no matter how many times they see it. Their only complaint is that Hollywood often misses some items on the Social Realism checklist of ideological points. As seen in this review by Manohla Dargis in the NYT.

“Marlo is doing the contemporary supermom thing and, refreshingly, she isn’t doing it with 1950s clichéd desperate smiles. …“Tully” admits that this figure is a noxious delusion, one that isn’t suitable for real women. …Marlo cares for the kids while Drew works and plays. …Drew and Marlo’s division of labor would be fine if it were equitable.

…but “Tully” isn’t really interested in the sustaining joys of female bonding. It has a message to deliver, which is as sincere and decent as it is obvious: Mothers need help, sometimes serious help. …it isolates Marlo, and once again it is a woman who’s the problem that needs solving.”

Thousands of generations of women – and most of the women living today – work as hard or harder than Marlo, without being considered “supermoms.” Most of them would consider Tully’s life to be almost utopian. To the princesses of the NYT, for whom every ideological pea is intolerable, traditional American life is “a noxious delusion.”

Film critic Roger Moore gives a less blatantly ideological summary of the film.

“{Theron is good} at the meltdowns and righteous tirades Marlo has when confronted with a world that isn’t as accommodating and sympathetic of the plights of motherhood as it should be.”

When was the last time Roger Moore reviewed a film that was sympathetic of the plights of fatherhood? This leads us to another question about these films that critics seldom mention. What do men see in them?

Charlize Theron
Not what she looks like in “Tully.”

About the wife

Marlo is the central actor of the film, with whom we should sympathize. She is a foul mouthed nightmare of a wife. The house is a wreck. The meals are frozen food. She regrets not using her degree in English literature. The critics love her.

“When Marlo declines to hold her newborn baby, Mia, and when, later, she stands outside the car in which Mia is squalling and screams “F*ck!,” we suspect not exhaustion, or postnatal depression, so much as a basic reluctance to lead the life – and to nurture the new lives – that society expects.” (Anthony Lane).

Our brutal society expects mothers to take care of their children. It was a bit late to discover that after her third child. Perhaps better contraception (e.g., a contraceptive implant), or a tubal ligation would have helped. But her screamed obscenity is her first response to problems – and to offers of advice and assistance.

At the hospital, a nurse attempts to get Marlo to pee after childbirth. Her response is to scream “You want a f*cking golden shower?”

Her son, Jonah, behaves badly both at home and at school. The principal gently tells Marlo that Jonah’s behavior is “out of the box” and that he is a “quirky” boy. It is an opening to discuss how they can work together to improve Jonah’s behavior. Marlo replies with a screamed “Do I have a kid or a f*cking ukulele?” She helpfully adds that {this is the real me} “when I’m not licking your asshole.” Imagine living with her.

Her brother did live with her. Marlo describes him with her usual graciousness: “His factory setting is asshole.” He generously pays for her to have a nanny. Her reply is characteristic.

“I don’t want a stranger in my house. That’s like a Lifetime movie where the nanny tries to kill the family and the mom has to walk with a cane at the end.”

Marlo eventually accepts his offer of a free nanny, and the plot at last begins to move.

Tully with the children at home.
Tully with the children at home.

About the husband

The husband, Drew, looks like the prince in this tragedy. He works hard to support his nightmarish and ungrateful wife. Marlo married him as a beta provider after years of riding the sexual carousel (Inkoo Kang at Slate delicately tells us that “Marlo describes {him} as the grounded bench in the careening sexual merry-go-round that was her 20s”). Drew gets nothing from his marriage. Rather than divorce, or flee to become a beachcomber (both more attractive options), he retreats at home into his own world. The critics see this differently.

“Theron plays Marlo, a struggling mother who is married to a lazy man named Drew (Ron Livingston). Drew takes business trips, sleeps a lot, and enjoys playing video games in bed of an evening. …How would a man like Drew change to help Marlo beyond a kind word and a two-shot image of solidarity?” (Damien Straker at ImpulseGamer.)

Danien is nuts to put business travel in the same category as “sleeping” and “playing games.” I have done a great deal of business travel, the grueling ten cities in three week odysseys.Of course, the critics march in lockstep obedience to the ruling “bad husband” trope.

“…lacklustre husband Drew (a mumbling Ron Livingston).” (Markie Robson-Scott.)

“…her useless husband …Some might smack Drew’s joystick out of his hands and the rest of his sorry self out of bed. Ms. Theron is such a naturally strong presence that it’s hard to believe Marlo would put up with his nonsense.” (Manohla Dargis.)

“a paragon of uselessness.” (Anthony Lane.)

Conclusions

Groups that want Zero Population Growth in the US, or even a shrinking US population, should sponsor free showings of this film – and the many similar TV shows and films – to teenagers and young men. Lure the boys in with popcorn, soda, and free hot pics of Charlize Theron. Offer free booze to the young men. Watch the marriage rate drop.

A few years of that program and the media will be flooded with articles about the Peter Pan generation that just won’t man up and marry.

Trivia note: the film is classified as comedy and drama. I found it quite dramatic, but not the least bit funny.

A slight spoiler about the ending

It has a happy ending. Like the happy endings to the Book of Job and the Gospel of Mark, it seems tacked on and inconsistent with the story.

Everybody imagines a different story to a film, and especially what happens in the years after the credits roll. I predict that in five years, once the kids are all in school, she will divorce Drew.

More anti-marriage films – from Christians

Dalrock has documented many examples of this fun but amazing genre. As an introduction, see his review of one of the most popular: How Fireproof lowers the boom on men.

He has written about divorce empowerment films: see his posts about Eat Pray Love (here), and about Wild (with Reese Witherspoon) here and here.

See his take on Tully.

For more information

Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon. Also see the tip jar at the top of the right sidebar.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about women and gender issuesabout feminismabout marriage, and especially these…

  1. A new hot trend from Hollywood: women hitting men.
  2. Modern movies show the hidden truth about romance & marriage: they’re dying.
  3. Disturbing next steps in the gender revolution – films showing romance as women breaking men.
  4. Classic films show what marriage was. Facts show its death.
  5. Hollywood gives men role models for a wrecked America.
  6. Recommendation: nine of the best American romantic films.

The Trailer for Tully

35 thoughts on “A review of “Tully”: it’s an antidote to marriage

  1. Bill Burr discusses “mothers have the most difficult job on the planet.”

    He has a different perspective than the usual one shown us by Hollywood.

  2. “Charlize Theron specializes in portrayal of modern women.” Dazzling insight, breath-taking use of the language and shit, man, didn’t your Mom give you the only advice you never needed before posting wannabe BS like this? “Honey, nobody cares what you think.”

    1. Roger,

      (1) “posting wannabe BS like this?”

      My statement was literally correct. “Butch prostitute serial killer, warrior, superspy, and desperate suburban housewife are all modern women — roles unknown in media before the modern era.

      (2) “Honey, nobody cares what you think.”

      The FM website gets one to two million pageviews per year. This review has over 3,000 pageviews so far, and they’re still coming.

      (3) Here’s some advice a mother might give you: life is short, so spend your time well. If you don’t like the content here, then don’t come here. It was a please to help you today!

  3. Looks like something to leave until it surfaces on Netflix.

    I do worry that we’re seeing a generation of men who can see nothing good in themselves or their ability to do good in the world and who have no worthwhile role models as, gradually, the heroes of yesteryear are dismantled piece by piece as history is rewritten.

    Ironic really, when you think that’s what women have been complaining their lives were like because men wrote the history and made the heroes they wanted.

    Perhaps if her husband had control of his fertility they’d not have had the children. They could have made a different film about a hard working career woman deprived of her right to a family by the duplicity of her husband who’d been using the male pill without her knowing. With the core of the plot being her struggle for financial compensation for her loss of family she always wanted and the course of IVF she underwent to try and get it.

    I suspect that in the current climate there’s no way we’re going to see anything more positive about men.

    1. Steve,

      While I have faith men will rally, I share your fears.

      I see the signs in small things. For example — in films and TV the woman almost always takes the initiative. She initiates the kiss. She makes the first move towards sex. Often she goes too fast, and the guy recoils in fear. This is true in cartoons for little kids, in action adventure shows, and everything in between. There are a few cases with traditional relationships, such as James Bond – mostly where the character is too well-established for gender-flipping.

      What effect does this have on our future men and women? How does this shape our cultural norms? Perhaps the more outlandish cases of “me too” result from girls who believe that they should initiate, or who think that at some level (with five other templates clashing in their minds) — and so rationalize her consent into his assault?

      I’ve long said that there are few new things in social history. We might be trying many new things simultaneously, like a doctor mixing a radical new formula — and administering it to his son.

    2. Personally, I have no problem with women initiating but there’s an imbalance between what would be considered acceptable ‘initiating’ for men and for women.

      I had a thought experiment where a story of one person repeatedly trying to date a desirable other would lead to the initiator being reported to the police. Write the story twice, just swapping the genders of the participants but not changing facts or events. Get two test groups of women, give each group one of the stories and ask them to comment on the behaviour of the participants.

      My suspicion is that the women who got the male initiator version would see this as a clear case of #metoo, while those that got the female version would largely see it as an example of female empowerment that led to a ridiculous overreaction by the male ‘victim’ who should have been flattered by the attention.

      I wait for the day when we have a film with the female protagonist pushing herself onto a man who repeatedly says no, but then after a lengthy and passionate kiss, says Yes! Yes! Yes!!!

      Feminism was supposed to have led us to a better world, free from the evils of testosterone. What I see at the moment is women adopting the male behaviour that they used to criticise. It’s sort of Darwinism, the apex predator has been dethroned, but there’s another species ready to replace it…

    3. Steve,

      Nice analysis! Esp interesting to consider that role reversal experiment. Such experiments are a valuable tool in these times.

      “Personally, I have no problem with women initiating”

      I prefer to avoid the whole “good/bad” judgement in these matters, and look at effects instead. To mention one biggie with the gender-bending being pushed on men: how will women react to the men who adopt it?

      When these men go out with women, will women “fill the void” and initiate — or will they think the guy is a wimp and move on? How will women react to effeminate but still hetero guys? Will women consider them desirable partners — or ideal beta orbiters? These young men are guinea pigs in a test of Leftists’ theories. That is my objection.

      “What I see at the moment is women adopting the male behaviour that they used to criticise.”

      That is another biggie. Women have the right to behave as they please. Just as men have a right not to marry them. How many of these young women will find themselves at 40 with no husband or kids, on the wrong side of the “wall” (which women describe as the point at which they become invisible to men). Their lives are experiments in a cruel and uncaring social science experiment.

    4. I’ll be 30 in a couple years, and long since stopped paying much attention to mainstream media. Movies are a nice way to spend an evening sometimes but if I want something thought provoking or inspiring I’ll look to yester-century (like yesteryear but more time).

      I mean it’s laughable. Women don’t take the initiative in romance; that is just as much as a fantasy as turning into a green giant or spouting fire from your hands. I take the intiative (whether or not I get the kiss at the end of the night) And if ideology and politics won’t see anything good about men then it’s time for new ideas.

    5. Your point about the attractiveness of low testosterone men is well made.

      If nothing else, this is a massive experiment in the relative strengths of nurture versus nature. Is male behaviour inherent in the species, or something that’s merely part of the way in which boys are brought up.

      Interestingly, with the higher numbers of single (female) parent families it may already be possible to draw some conclusions on this, looking a behaviour of men from such families.

      It may be we’re witnessing the birth of a new generation of men shorn of their need to compete, their aggressiveness or the other aspects of their anti-social behaviour. Then again, we may be witnessing the birth of a new generation of men doomed to a life of insecurity and self doubt as their upbringing conflicts with inbuilt behaviour traits that have been developed over millions of years.

      Perhaps we’ll see the rise mental health issues that’ll be called ‘Reimer’ syndrome. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer, I hope not.

    6. Steve,

      Lots of interesting content in that comment!

      How will normal-T men react to their feminist indoctrination? Absorb it, ignore it, or react in the opposite direction?

      How will all the indoctrinated guys get by in our society? Losers are not treated well. Life is hard on the bottom. How will they react? My guess (guess) is that the casualties will be many and pitiful. I too worry that some will turn to violence (understandable if unfortunate, when they realize how they’ve been abused).

      I agree that the results from these experiments will provide material for thousands of social science papers.

    7. “My suspicion is that the women who got the male initiator version would see this as a clear case of #metoo, while those that got the female version would largely see it as an example of female empowerment that led to a ridiculous overreaction by the male ‘victim’ who should have been flattered by the attention.”

      Here’s an example from the movie Superbad. Here Michael Cera ends up drunk and in bed with his dream girl, who’s also drunk. Here she actually tried to get him to deflower her and he chivalrously refuses. Her reaction is priceless. And trust me, this happens more than we care to admit. It’s happened to me personally.

      The lesson here: damned if you do. You are a rapist who takes advantage of girls who feel something for you. Damned if you don’t. Not only you’re not mama enough to take her, you’re basically a bitch and a pussy

      Oh, and NSFW.

      https://youtu.be/3u-ed0fTDdk

    1. Mike,

      Color me skeptical about the “fear of intimacy.” Social science research is notorious for “discovery” of what they expected. The results of well over half cannot be replicated.

      Also, a quick search on Google finds only news articles about the “Next Steps Project” of University College London. No peer-reviewed publications. No papers. I suggest skepticism until more evidence surfaces.

      There are many explanations for the increase in the number of young virgins. More obesity. Focus of young women on career and disinterest in playing the dating game (look at the coeds on a US campus: not dressing to attract men’s attention). Unleashed hypergamy, as young women despise betas and chase alphas. Collectively these could easily explain the observations without introducing unobserved factors such as “rising fear of intimacy.”

      Occam’s Law rules!

    2. Mike,

      We can only guess at these things. But why have “fear and ego” changed?

      That seems an unlikely explanation when we have so many objectively evident changes that could have produced the decrease in sexual activity for so many.

  4. The point may to make lonely aging spinster feel as if they aren’t missing anything.

    1. Mandy,

      I think we all agree that Tully has women as its target market.

      The point of this film is different: what is the effect of films and TV shows like this on boys and men?

  5. Charlize Theron needs some BBCs

    {Comment deleted for sexual content in violation of website policy.}

    1. Rando,

      Thanks for the tip. All I was getting was the BBC news service.

      I deleted the comment (strike-thru) for sexual content in violation of this website’s policy.

  6. Theron provides some interesting signals as to why South Africa collapsed. South African whites seem to be divided into completely decadent liberals like Theron and “bitter clingers” to God and guns. These categories aren’t perfect, but are what I’ve seen of South African whites. I’m sure there’s a lesson in this for us given that the divide in our society is about the same. No nation divided against itself can stand.

    Theron is a walking cliche of a hot liberal woman who squandered her youth being passed around by various men and now has to adopt African babies who will probably go Menendez on her when they can no longer take being raised by a crazy white spinster.

    I’ve long said that there are few new things in social history. We might be trying many new things simultaneously, like a doctor mixing a radical new formula — and administering it to his son.

    It’s called “hemlock.”

    1. PRCD,

      “It’s called hemlock.”

      That is a clear winner for Darkest Comment of the Month! I hope you are wrong.

  7. Dalrock has written about how the model of raising children in a family has changed from matrimony to child support. Which is in general a bad deal for men who get ejected from their children’s lives.

    Remove the marital debt, then remove the man from the marital bed, then remove the man from the house, yet they still get to retain his support and restrict his ability to try again. Because his resources are still hers to access, not some other woman. Incentives matter yet women write articles which amount to wondering why more men won’t put their necks on the block.

  8. As I see it, and judging by this article, the only ones benefiting from this are, for one, puppy and kitten mills and anything pertaining to pets. The other ones are the tourism industry, because I think men aren’t going to risk marriage to a Tully like woman. They’d rather go to Thailand or Brazil to get laid.

  9. I laughed so hard at this review. Men like Larry find movies like this so threatening and I qualified this further by all of the “deep” discussion in the comments about the future of “our men” being stripped of their masculinity by the left wing butch fem nazis!

    Dude. Just take the trash out. Look around. Ask what you can do to help. It’s about equality. Just as much as Livingston’s “Prince” character deserved appreciation and attention- which he did- Theron’s character needed some help as well.

    It really does take such little acknowledgment to shift the dynamic relationships. Little signs of appreciation go a long way. It’s not that complicated if you can spare a few minutes each day. Then you won’t end up a bitter and sad old man.

    1. Pot calling the kettle black there Elle. Quite the failure of comprehension of 1. the movie and 2. the analysis.

      “It’s about equality”

      Nice empty ideological drivel.

    2. Asta,

      My guess (guess!) is that Elle is responding to what George Orwell called “crimethink” (from 1984). She sees material that challenges her ideology. She could describe the challenge and say why it is wrong. But that forces thought.

      Crimethink maintains ideological purity by classifying ideas as “bad” and stopping thought, responding with automatic defenses. “Your threatened by feminism. It’s all about equality.” These prevent dialog. They are thought deflector screens, allowing the person to leave with the happy glow of having instructed the peons.

      We will see if she responds. They seldom do.

    3. Elle,

      “find movies like this so threatening”

      What gave you that impression? There is nothing in it that says anything remotely like that.

      “about the future of “our men” being stripped of their masculinity by the left wing butch fem nazis!”

      Can you be more specific? Are you even reading this page?

      “It’s about equality.”

      You seem to be ranting about something that is bothering you rather than responding to anything in this review. I suggest responding to quotes, as I do in this comment and in the review. It will ground your response, and prevent rants.

  10. Larry. Again, thanks for the laugh. I hope you didn’t get yourself too worked up over my “rant”….says the editor of basically an online circle jerk diary.

    Of course you find this threatening. Even if I could find some original thought in your blog, instead of regurgitated quotes by actual writers and columnists- it’s pretty obvious the tone here of your perceived “war on men”.

    You miss the entire point of the movie, which is really about postpartum depression, instead describing Theron’s character as “nightmare of a wife” and Livingston’s character as a “Prince”- why so biased and one sided Larry? At least in my comments I gave acknowledgement to the needs of both parties and suggested a more equitable division of labor. To which you had no constructive response btw.

    I don’t need you to comprehend my words- I don’t care. You’re kind is a dying breed that is quickly fading out. All I have to do is wait.

    1. Elle,

      (1) “You miss the entire point of the movie, which is really about postpartum depression”

      But her ugly behavior begins before her third child’s birth. Also, some mental health experts say that the wife has mental health issues — not just “postpartum depression.”

      There is another level to this. Until recently her behavior would be considered both unusual and deplorable. Does putting a psychological label on it does anything but normalize it? The current edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is 947 pages! How long until most of human behavior gets an entry in a future edition? Will society be better off then?

      (2) “Of course you find this threatening.”

      Thank you Professor Xavier for sharing your telepathic powers with us. No self-esteem problems for you!

      (3) “Even if I could find some original thought in your blog”

      First, original thought is very rare. I certainly make no claims to such. Second, your comments give no evidence that you even read the post.

      (4) “Says the editor of basically an online circle jerk diary.”

      Is that what you consider “original thought?” But you still did not give a quote and explain why it is wrong. A stream of insults is not too useful.

      (5) “You’re kind is a dying breed that is quickly fading out. All I have to do is wait.”

      Time will tell if your ability as a forecaster is better than your defective telepathic abilities.

  11. 1) “You miss the entire point of the movie, which is really about postpartum depression”
    But her ugly behavior begins before her third child’s birth. Also, some mental health experts say that the wife has mental health issues — not just “postpartum depression.”

    Postpartum doesn’t just kick in when the baby pops out, it can start during pregnancy. It’s called antepartum. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/depression-during-pregnancy/art-20237875

    There is another level to this. Until recently her behavior would be considered both unusual and deplorable. Does putting a psychological label on it does anything but normalize it? The current edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is 947 pages! How long until most of human behavior gets an entry in a future edition? Will society be better off then?

    You’re right, lets just ignore the issue and let women drive cars off bridges and drown all their kids in the tub.

    (2) “Of course you find this threatening.”

    Thank you Professor Xavier for sharing your telepathic powers with us. No self-esteem problems for you! Well what am supposed to think when reading this drivel.

    You threw some jabs in yourself which I didn’t find relevant either. Posting racy photos of Theron with captions underneath that say “not what she looks like in Tully”.

    (3) “Even if I could find some original thought in your blog”

    First, original thought is very rare. I certainly make no claims to such. Second, your comments give no evidence that you even read the post.

    You asked me to quote your work- what work? Your blog is nothing short of the opinions of the more esteemed that that you happen to share. It’s just regurgitated confirmation bias. Yawn….and I did quote your words in the 3rd paragraph of my last response when you characterized the leads as a nightmare and a prince. I called you one sided. How is he a prince? Because he has a job? Tully worked up until her 9th month- she’s not the “standard desperate housewife”. Another one of your quotes. Please explain.

    (4) “Says the editor of basically an online circle jerk diary.”

    Is that what you consider “original thought?” But you still did not give a quote and explain why it is wrong. A stream of insults is not too useful.

    I did not invent the circle jerk, no. Again, with the court reporter. See item three- why do you need your work quoted back to you? You know what you said. Even if it wasn’t a direct quote it was implied by you. My points are valid responses to your blog post.

    (5) “You’re kind is a dying breed that is quickly fading out. All I have to do is wait.”

    Time will tell if your ability as a forecaster is better than your defective telepathic abilities.

    Your one sided 1950’s analysis of this movie is just sexist rhetoric being peddled to others like you who still yearn for the days when a woman was grateful and knew her place. I don’t need telepathy for that.

    1. You reallly do suffer from Projection issues

      “regurgitated confirmation bias.” Again Elle, really the pot calling the kettle black here. Sad & pathetic

    2. You’ve left a constant steady supply of Logical Fallacies. Most notably the ad hominem attack. Congrats you’ve demonstrated your irrelavance. Also Straw man fallacies are a cheap and easy way to make one’s position look stronger than it is. No surprise your straw man fallacies and ad hominems occur together, demonizing opponents and discrediting their views. Congrats on making yourself look like a fanatic and a fool.

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